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Pirates aren't showing much plate discipline

The Sports Xchange
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The Pirates don't hit well, and that's at least partly because they're not being very smart once they step into the box.

Exhibit A, even in the context of a terrible start to 2012, might have come Friday night in Atlanta in the fourth inning of the 6-1 loss to the Braves.

With the bases loaded, one out and the score tied, the Pirates had a rare opportunity to break a game open with a big hit. And it looked especially promising given that Braves starter Tommy Hanson walked his last two batters, his last pitch going three feet wide and in the dirt.

Rod Barajas stepped in, swung at the first pitch and bounced into a double play.

For real.

That's how Barajas is batting .114 and how the Pirates are batting a collective .221 with a major league low 42 runs.

"A lot of it really is about coming up with the big hit at the right time," hitting coach Gregg Ritchie told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review earlier in the week. "One of the things we need to do is get our guys to take deep breaths, just be themselves."

That even includes the veterans, such as Barajas. He batted .230 last season for the Dodgers but also had 16 home runs and 47 RBI. He's shown nothing of the kind since signing with Pittsburgh as a free agent.

"Those guys will come around," Ritchie said of the veterans. "That's just a matter of time."

And smarts.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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